Removal and Relocation of Native Americans

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Numerous white humans argued that having to stay with the Indians ion the equal environment got here a problem. To them, Native Americans were uncivilized and would no longer allow them to occupy their native lands. As a result, the solely way was to do away with them completely. In the early years of the American democratic system, certain leaders like George Washington did argue and supported the thought of “civilizing” the Indians and making them be like the whites instead of having to eliminate them from their native homes. The only way to acquire this was via converting these very human beings to be Christians and teach them how to study and write in English. This led to the emergence of some categories of Native Indian Americans popularly referred to as the “Five Civilized Tribes” of the southern parts of the USA. These were namely the “Choctaw,” “Chickasaw,” ‘Seminole,” “Creek,” and “Cherokee” people. Even after this, the white people were not willing to leave some regions like Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee to the Native Indian American population mainly because these lands were relatively richer and could support various agricultural practices. These whites were not in for the idea of the “civilization” of these Indians as they only wanted these people out of their homeland (Denzin 30). Quite many states then passed laws intended to limit the rights of the Native Americans as far as ownership of lands was concerned. The Supreme Court at that time passed a ruling that the Indian Nations had sovereignty to prevent the harassment of the Natives by the whites.

This ruling made by the Supreme Court proved to be ineffective because of the then president of the USA, Andrew Jackson who failed to enforce the rule. He gave consent towards the so-called “Indian removal” campaigns that only aimed at removing the Indians from America. In 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the “Indian Removal Act,” an act that gave unlimited powers to the federal administration to switch native lands in cotton-grown areas in Mississippi for the lands in the western parts termed as “Indian Colonization Zone.”

The terms of this act signed by the then president clearly spelled out that the government was to take part in negotiations that would ensure that the removals were conducted in a fair, peaceful, and fair manner besides giving no room for anyone to manipulate the Native Americans into surrendering their lands. However, President Andrew did not adhere to the Act he signed as he even encouraged the use of force to drive away these poor individuals from their lands. Sometime in the 1830s, the ‘Choctaw” people were evicted from their lands and were compelled to walk on foot without water or food supply for quite a long time. This resulted in several deaths of the people in the course of the journey making it be widely known as the “Trail of Tears.”

As the process of removing the Indians continued, the government chose to expel the Creeks from their native homes finally in 1836. The Cherokee people were separated, and this was argued by the government to be the only way through which they were capable of acquiring their lands. A group of this alienated tribe wanted to fight for their land while others accepted to leave their land for a fee. In 1835, the self-appointed leaders of Cherokee group opted to negotiate the treaty of “New Echota,” where the Cherokee lands were to be traded for five million dollars. In addition to this, they wanted the US government to offer help to them as they relocated besides being compensated for the properties that they had lost. However, this did not go well with most Cherokee people who somehow felt that the pact had betrayed them one of their representatives stated in a letter to the nation’s principal chief, John Ross, “The instrument in question is not the act of our nation, we were not parties to its covenants; it has not received the sanction of our people (Fixico 34).” Over 18,000 Cherokees signed Ross’s petition, but the Senate ignored the petition and approved the treaty.

Most Cherokees were unwilling to give up their lands based in Georgia, and at around 1839, President Martin Van Buren ordered General Winfield Scott with close to 8,000 soldiers to speed up the evacuation process. Winfield and his army forced this group of individuals into stockades at “bayonet point” giving the whites the opportunity to loot their homes and belongings. They then matched the over 2,000 miles to the Indian territories. Researchers have gone to suggest that approximately 8000 Cherokees died in the course of the journey due to starvation and diseases such as cholera and dysentery (Kilpatrick 50).

By 1841, thousands of Native Indian Americans had been removed from their native lands in the southern and eastern states and forced to move across Mississippi to Indian territories. Even though the federal government had earlier pledged that the new settings where the Natives had been moved to would not be touched or interfered with, the Indian territories kept on shrinking all the time as a result of the constant swelling of the white settlements from the western parts (Kilpatrick 50). In 1907, Oklahoma was made a state, and this led to the disappearance of the “Indian Country.”

Work cited

Denzin, Norman K. “Indians in the park.” Qualitative research 5.1 (2005): 9-33.

Fixico, Donald L. Termination and Relocation. Federal Indian Policy, 1945-1960. University of New Mexico Press, Journalism Building, Suite 220, Albuquerque, NM 87131, 2006

Kilpatrick, Jacquelyn. Celluloid Indians: Native Americans and Film. U of Nebraska Press, 2009.

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